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After nine years at AHDB I look forward to working with you all as the interim Strategy Director for beef & lamb. I join you at an interesting time in the year. A time where market prices are good, but we all await the news within the next few weeks about what lies ahead on the EU exit negotiations.

We must tread with caution due to the implications a trade deal could have on our markets, particularly for the sheep industry. We will release details and analysis as soon as we are able to, but you can keep up to date with the latest on our website.

To ensure our ambitions remain focused on what the industry needs, we are currently shaping our new strategy. To make sure our plan for the next five years is right, we will be speaking to our levy payers, as well as incorporating the feedback from the government’s request for views. Find out more about our commitments to you.

There has been great news in the export world, where we’ve not only seen the first British beef heading over to the US after a 20 year ban, but we’ve also just released a new video to showcase the best of British produce to our emerging and current export markets.

And don’t forget you can still join in with our Strategic Farm month events, which are taking place until the end of October.

Keep safe and best wishes,

Rebecca Miah

AHDB Beef & Lamb Strategy Director


New export video showcases UK food production to the world

SIAL China 2020 is one of the first large-scale food exhibitions to take place since lockdown – and is the most important show in China for the meat sectors – with

the eyes of the world on quality products to supply the massive Chinese market. To coincide with this, AHDB has launched a new export video, showcasing high-quality British produce, tailored for the Chinese market, with the aim of further stimulating demand for British meat products. The video is the first element of a suite of digital content being launched globally by AHDB in a bid to develop British farm produce exports. Read more and watch the video.


Industry conference to raise the bar for sheep health and welfare


Working together for world-leading health and welfare is the focus of the fifth Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) conference next month.


The conference, taking place on Tuesday 24 November, will be online for the first time due to coronavirus restrictions and will explore target areas for the sheep industry to ensure it is ready for the challenges ahead. There will also be an introduction to the new Ruminant Health and Welfare Group, which will become the co-ordinator for ruminant health and welfare activity across the UK. Read more and book your tickets.


Lamb prices remain strong

In the week ending 23 September, the GB Liveweight NSL SQQ averaged 208.04p/kg, dropping only 0.74p on the week. Prices continue to remain strong on the year, 45p higher than the same week last year. GB auction market throughputs increased on the week (+4%), totalling 130,000 head, significantly up on the previous year (+23%). Read more


Join in our Strategic Farm month this October

For the whole month of October, the Beef & Lamb team are hosting their first Strategic Farm month, to showcase some of the incredible success achieved by the farmers in the Farm Excellence programme. Check out our Twitter page for the latest activity.


Consumer marketing news

Enjoy National Curry Week

We are excited to support National Curry Week, 5 - 11 October. We've pulled together some of our tastiest dishes to celebrate one of the nation’s favourite cuisines. Whether it’s a mellow Massaman or a taste-bud-tingling Jalfrezi, there really is a curry for everyone. Curry works with everything, but we’re obviously big fans of beef and lamb curry recipes. We’ve selected a few of our favourites to inspire you, as well as one of our favourite curry accompaniments: lamb keema. Get cooking!

Love Lamb Week success

Thank you to everyone that took part in Love Lamb Week 2020. it was a resounding success, with support from across the industry and many activities taking place across the UK. We are currently reviewing results from the campaign, but here are some key highlights:

  • More than 200 pieces of media coverage were generated, including mentions on BBC's Saturday Kitchen and John Torode cooking a lamb dish on ITV's This Morning  
  • John Torode also supported us on social media, cooking a lamb dish for his 150,000 followers on Instagram
  • Digital assets created for industry use were downloaded nearly 700 times and used by high profile industry supporters and celebrity farmers
  • Social media activity reached nearly 19 million accounts overall, with above industry average engagement rates
  • A celebrity lamb cook-off on the Quality Standard Mark's Twitter account between cricket stars Michael Vaughan and Phil Tufnell brought Love Lamb Week to a different audience with over 80,000 accounts reached

Markets and prices

Beef market update video

Beef market update:
October 2020

Market analyst, Felicity Rusk, takes a look at the latest developments in UK beef markets in terms of prices, production and demand. Watch now

Lamb market update video

Lamb market update: October 2020

In the latest market update Rebecca takes a look at recent lamb trade data and explores why we could possibly see an increase in import volumes in the coming months. Watch now


Industry news

Red Tractor Livestock Markets and Collection Centre Standards Consultation

After an examination of the current Livestock Market and Collection Centre standards by a cross-industry coalition of key stakeholders, Red Tractor is now looking for feedback on a new version (V4.0) of both standards. We are inviting feedback on the proposed new standards by noon on the 31 October. Red Tractor really appreciates your feedback; the survey should only take a few minutes to complete. Take this survey


Opportunities exist to take bigger slice of Middle Eastern market

The Middle East presents a wealth of opportunities for the UK’s red meat exports with the region importing around 90% of all beef and lamb consumed locally. According to the presenters on AHDB’s latest export webinar, the Middle East has a growing population with a high disposable income – making it a key target market for exporters. While shipments of lamb to the Middle East increased 319% between 2018 and 2019, AHDB’s Halal Sector Manager Dr Awal Fuseini was keen to stress that the UK is at present, only exporting a small amount in comparison to other countries. Read more

EU-UK trade negotiations

Following the publication of the Internal Market Bill deviating from parts of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), the European Commission (EC) has launched legal actions (an infringement procedure) against the UK. This was to be expected – the EC launches infringement procedures against EU Members for not upholding the law. However, as the Dutch PM said last week, this step is 'more administrative than political'. In any case, the general feeling in Brussels remains that a deal will be reached before we get to that point, so this will only go anywhere if there is no trade deal. Meanwhile, the ninth round of negotiations took place last week. According to Michel Barnier’s statement, the negotiators took the opportunity to note the points of convergence and some positive new developments on issues such as social security coordination, among others. However, they haven’t been able to reach progress on issues such as protection of personal data, climate change commitments or carbon pricing. In addition, serious divergences remain on the key sticking points (level playing field, governance framework including robust enforcement and dispute settlement mechanism, and fisheries). Despite these differences, the EU still wants a deal, although not at any price so the European Commission has called for the negotiations to be intensified. Read more


Minimising carcase losses

On average, the main cause for rejection at meat inspection for cattle is liver fluke and for sheep, Cysticercus tenuicollis, closely followed by liver fluke. C. tenuicollis, or bladder worms, originate from canine tapeworm, which has a similar lifecycle to C. ovis. Once a sheep is exposed to tapeworm eggs, it is impossible to prevent the development of cysts. Therefore, it is essential to prevent exposure to tapeworm. You can do this by ensuring all farm dogs are routinely wormed at the correct dose with a product specifically for tapeworms and where practical, fencing off public footpaths to keep other dogs from accessing grazing.  For more information, see Minimising carcase losses for Better Returns


Test before you treat for liver fluke

The timing of fluke could be different this year and may vary across the country. Reports of cases of fluke have started to come in from some regions, however these are variable, according to a SCOPS press release.

Animals should be monitored before a flukicide is used unless there is a history of fluke infection on the farm. Continued monitoring is important to make sure stock aren’t treated too early. If animals are infected later in the season, they won’t be protected because flukicides offer no persistency. COWS/SCOPS suggest using this season’s lambs and calves as sentinels and test them using a blood test before considering treatment of the main flock/herd.

If treatment is needed, be aware of the risk of re-infection. If animals have to remain in a high-risk area, monitoring for infection is essential and further treatments may be needed. Also test that your treatment has worked effectively on your farm.

For more information on liver fluke, join AHDB Beef & Lamb and Professor Diana Williams from Liverpool University for a webinar on Thursday 29 October at 7:30pm. Find out more.


Looking out for lean ewes pre-tupping

Ewe nutrition plays a pivotal role in fertility, lamb survival and lamb performance, with nutrient requirements changing through the year. With tupping fast approaching it is worth re-assessing ewe body condition score and grouping any lean ewes for additional attention.  Body condition scoring (BCS) is easy to learn and is a hugely important tool to assess and manage the nutrition of breeding sheep, with widely accepted guidelines for target scores at different stages of the production cycle. The target BCS at mating is 3.5 for lowland ewes and 2.5 for hill ewes. Ewes in low BCS can eat up to 30% more dry matter and should be offered the best grazing to help them reach target BCS before mating. On high-quality grass, it takes 6-8 weeks to gain one unit of BCS. If thin ewes on good grazing have not gained condition after 3-4 weeks, it is worth investigating possible health reasons with your advisor or vet e.g. fluke, worms, Johne’s, OPA, and Maedi Visna. Blood and faecal screening packages are available for thin ewes along with post-mortem examination, and these can be useful tools to help identify issues in the flock. For further details contact your vet.

Take a look at our online publications Feeding the ewe and Iceberg diseases of ewes



Optimising calf health

In this episode Sarah Pick, Knowledge Exchange Manager for AHDB Beef & Lamb talks to Donall Fahy who manages the dairy calf to beef trial at Teagasc, Ireland.

During the podcast Donall discusses the management practices he recommends to improve animal health and business profitability in calf rearing systems. Listen now


Have you signed up for your monthly webinar and events round-up?

Over the past few months we've embraced digital solutions to continue to engage and share best practice with you. As part of this, we have increased the number of online webinars we are delivering. To improve the co-ordination of our webinar promotion, we are no longer sending out individual emails for each webinar – instead this has been replaced with a monthly webinar and events email which will list all of the upcoming webinars that are relevant to your sector. To ensure you receive this email, please check your preferences at

Beef & Lamb webinars

Thursday 8 October (12:30 – 1:30pm)

Neil Brown Strategic Farm - Data driven decisions. Book now

Wednesday 14 October (4:00 – 5:00pm)

Post-Covid and the “Next Normal”. Book now

Thursday 15 October (12:30 – 1:30pm)

Richard Carruthers Strategic Farm month event. Book now

Thursday 15 October (7:00 – 8:00pm)

Improving cattle handling systems with a lower cost. Book now

Thursday 22 October (12:30 – 1:30pm)

Chris Elkington Strategic Farm - Increasing lamb performance on a forage-based diet. Book now

Thursday 29 October (12:30 – 1:30pm)

Adrian Coombe Strategic Farm – Improving grass growth by understanding soil health. Book now

Thursday 29 October (7:30 – 9:00pm)

Table Talk – Liver Fluke in Sheep. Book now

Skills and business webinars

Monday 12 October (7:00 – 8:00pm)

The motivational superhero business webinar. Book now

How a more price-conscious consumer affects product choices

Across October and November, we will be discussing the changes in consumer buying behaviours and attitudes witnessed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as part of our Consumer Insight Conference – you can read all about the information we’ll be covering and book onto webinar sessions online here.